Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 81

Thread: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

  1. #26
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Ok, let's hear these mandolins being played in the flesh. I challenge the supporters of the higher end instruments to play something on their Lloyd Loar or Gibsons or whatever and play exactly the same tune on a Kentucky or a Northfield mandolin. Anyone out there done that already or prepared to do it. Otherwise it is just more talk and no action.

  2. #27
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,442
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    No problem. I'll do a few comparative tracks for you: Gibson Fern vs. KM-1000 vs Jim Triggs '23 F-5.

    See if you can call them correctly.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  3. #28

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Didn't you sort of do that already in a LM700 thread a while back? KM1000, LM700, Silver Angel and a Gibson. I could definitely hear a difference in the higher ranged instruments in that comparison.

  4. #29
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Friday Harbor WA
    Posts
    1,584

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    There's another issue that possibly muddies the waters of this discussion. I know that some of you chiming in here are primarily looking for an F5 that nails the classic bluegrass sound. So every f5 mandolin gets compared to the classic Loar tone. I suspect that the Gibsons being praised here best epitomize that sound. This is not a judgment, but an observation. Personally, if I was looking for a bluegrass mandolin and had $5000 to burn, I'd strongly consider gathering 4 or 5 Goldrush F5s into one room, and then choose the "best" among them. Why? because it has the Gibson mystique and sound, and personally, because I think it's one beautiful looking bluegrass machine.

    I think we can all agree that build quality is a more objective criteria. On that level, for example, I've never seen any Eastman that can compare to a good Gibson. I've never seen a Northfield at all, so I'll keep quiet about them.

    I sometimes play a KM1000 and a KM1500. With all due respect to the Gibson lovers among us, I do think the KM1500 is in the same ballpark in terms of build quality as any Gibson below the MM. The KM1000 was not quite there, but I have to add that I only play one instrument.

    Personally, I like the bluegrass sound as much as anybody. But despite my fantasy rave about the Goldrush, I would never make it the defining factor in purchasing an F5 mandolin.

    Problem is, I can't really tell you my own defining factor, other than to say nebulous things such as: I prefer a mandolin that projects with great clarity when I barely stroke the strings. Or one that displays a pecussive "overdrive" that always surprises me with its power whenever I dig in.
    Explore some of my published music here

    óJim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

  5. #30
    Registered User John Duncan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I'd be psyched to hear those different mandos. Triple blind tasting! Yum.
    My Youtube Channel: http://bit.ly/1F9sJ8G

  6. #31
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,442
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by shortymack View Post
    Didn't you sort of do that already in a LM700 thread a while back? KM1000, LM700, Silver Angel and a Gibson. I could definitely hear a difference in the higher ranged instruments in that comparison.
    Yes, I did. But I'll do another with some different ones. I have a pair of Gibson Ferns here now, plus a pair of KM-1000's so can so a blind "mix and match". No two of them sound identical, but you can certainly hear a "family resemblance".

    PS: KM-1000's do vary quite a bit in detail work. I have one which is superb, a real knock-out mandolin. The other is not quite as impressive, but still sounds good.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  7. #32
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Salisbury,NC
    Posts
    6,420

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I was impressed with the new Gary Fern test on their website. Two of them didn't even have the finish on them which raises the question does final finish really matter? The late luthier CE Ward would bring me over his newest F5 copies in the green and they sounded great. I know many luthiers string them up before finish but does that sound change that much after finish is applied?

  8. #33
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,865

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    How does the fretboard figure in to this discussion? Some of the above have flat fingerboards, some radius'd and even different nut widths etc.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
    Stromberg-Voisinet Tenor Guitar
    Penny Whistle
    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  9. #34
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,442
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I have not forgotten I promised to cut a few comparative tracks. Been down with a bad case of the 'flu the last week or so, though, so thought you'd prefer hearing them minus the coughs and sneezes. Getting over it a bit now, so should get this done soon.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to almeriastrings For This Useful Post:


  11. #35
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,267

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I find it interesting that "sound is subjective" only applies to ordinary mandolin players. But the sound is not subjective when it comes to guys like Adam Steffey.
    ntriesch

  12. #36
    Registered User John Duncan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Triesch View Post
    I find it interesting that "sound is subjective" only applies to ordinary mandolin players. But the sound is not subjective when it comes to guys like Adam Steffey.
    I agree with you. I still sound like me whether its on my A style that I built or my F style " The Glenn". But, when I am playing those mandolins in similar situations, whether its a jam, or a show in a large noisy bar or an outdoor gig, they both affect my playing differently.

    For me, it is a totally mental thing. I "think" one sounds louder and has more presence than the other and is "easier" to play in the sense that I do not have to struggle for volume. But, when I go back and listen to recordings of both mandolins on a lot of the same songs, the tone is the absolute same.

    I think other people have similar experiences.
    My Youtube Channel: http://bit.ly/1F9sJ8G

  13. #37
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,442
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Triesch View Post
    I find it interesting that "sound is subjective" only applies to ordinary mandolin players. But the sound is not subjective when it comes to guys like Adam Steffey.
    Not totally sure I understand what you are saying... quite a lot of pickers even at that level, go though a heck of a lot of different instruments... Monroe, Scruggs, Tony Rice and Sam Bush (for example) are strongly identified with specific instruments, but they are outnumbered by people who 'chop and change' pretty regularly, for various reasons. Anything from sponsorship, to plain old MAS, to just liking a change now and again. Those instruments do not sound identical to them (at least the folk I have asked about this have all said they hear/feel the differences ). Though you or I may not hear it on stage, or on recordings. Sometimes you certainly CAN hear it. Norman Blake, for example...he has been though a store load of instruments, and his "tone" has changed very frequently as a result.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  14. #38
    Registered User John Duncan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    Tony Rice .... strongly identified with specific instruments...
    I think Tony Rice is an example of what Nick is talking about. Take for example that Tony has used several guitars on his different solo albums including an ovation on Manzanita. Many, many people do not hear the difference between Rice's "Antique", his Santa Cruz, or an Ovation because of who is driving them.

    But, I'd be willing to bet that Tony Rice can tell a very huge significant difference.
    My Youtube Channel: http://bit.ly/1F9sJ8G

  15. #39
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Salisbury,NC
    Posts
    6,420

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Don't forget the Grisman "Tone Poems" project. Rice was in on that too. I have yet to figure who these special pickers like Rice, Monroe, Watson, Scruggs,Reno, Grisman, etc. seem to always be able to pull a certain tone out of whatever they are playing . Remember the Grisman Quintet when they were all using Kentucky instruments in the early 80's.

  16. #40
    Okay, I'm with you fellas tburcham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Jonesboro, AR
    Posts
    725
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    There is a real, tangible difference.

    Some of it is in detail that is not immediately obvious, unless you know where to look. For example, if you compare the pearl work on the Kentucky headstock to that on the Gibsons, they are completely different in how they are done, and the materials used. On the surface they look the same - but they're not. There are a lot of other small but important details that are done one way on the Gibsons and another on the Kentucky's (I can't comment on the Northfield's in this regard as I have not seen enough of them, I have never done any work on them, or even examined them in that kind of detail. I've only seen one).

    Gibson have had their "ups and downs" over the years, as we all know. There have been times when you would be better off with a good KM-1000 or 1500. Right now, though, they are turning out some really stunning, fine instruments. You can feel the quality the moment you take them out the case. That is confirmed when you go over them with your eye, looking for those little details. It is all those little things being done right, that come together to make a great instrument.

    You can't just go by specs on paper, either. On that basis, a KM-1000 should "blow away" say, an F-5G... but if you have played any recent F-5G's, you'll know they don't. I got to play a friend's recent F-5G not long back, and that was one impressive mandolin. The sound was all there. Incidentally, the factory setups lately have been very, very good indeed too. Fine components (custom Grovers and top-class bridges) all factory supplied too. No 'upgrading' required. Even the traditional tailpieces have much heavier plating than you'll see on cheaper instruments, and the metalwork is very high quality. Little details again.

    A big difference is that Gibson are drawing on a long line of top class people overseeing things, people who have been very dedicated to making the best mandolins possible, people like the late Charlie Derrington and of course, now, Dave Harvey. I think it shows, because the results speak for themselves.

    It is very important not to get too side-tracked by specs on paper... if it was that easy you could throw together a mandolin with red spruce and varnish and it would kill every lacquer/sitka instrument out there. That's not how it is, though. There is more going on 'under the hood' than that. It is the sum total of all the little details and how the top is carved and finished... the materials...the back... everything. The experience and skill of the builders involved is right at the top of the list.
    I agree completely with Almeria's post. As many of you know, Almeria and I share similar mandolin tastes, i,e., we both love David Harvey Gibsons and Ken Ratcliff's Silverangel mandolins. He's right on the money about the small details and what's under the hood, particularly with recent Gibsons. Like Almeria, I believe the Kentucky KM 1000 is an absolutely fabulous mandolin for the money and multiples of the money. Used models selling for $,1000 to $1,200 represent an astonishing bang for the buck ratio!
    Tim Burcham
    Northfield Big Mon (Red Spruce/Red Maple)
    Gibson F-9 Custom
    1942 Strad-O-Lin
    1948-54 Gibson LG-3
    2011 Gibson J-45 True Vintage
    2017 Martin HD-28 VTS Custom Shop
    Bailey Mandolin Straps (NFI)
    Bell Arm-rests (NFI)

  17. #41
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,442
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    The contenders...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandotest1.jpg 
Views:	305 
Size:	99.8 KB 
ID:	94634

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandotest2.jpg 
Views:	452 
Size:	146.3 KB 
ID:	94635

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	mandotest3.jpg 
Views:	343 
Size:	142.3 KB 
ID:	94636

    Recorded straight to a Tascam DR-100 Mk. II using the internal mics set to unidirectional. Both mandolins with J-74's and played with the same pick (Bluechip) one after the other, from exactly the same position. Tried to play pretty much identically (as far as possible)....not easy.

    http://soundcloud.com/almeria-strings/mandolintest
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  18. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to almeriastrings For This Useful Post:


  19. #42

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    The first one has got to be the fern. Thats one beautiful KM1000.

  20. #43
    Registered User John Duncan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I think they both sound awesome. My guess is that the first one is the Kentucky and the second is the Gibson. I only listened twice but, I am going with my gut.
    My Youtube Channel: http://bit.ly/1F9sJ8G

  21. #44
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    2,872

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I believe the first one has to be the Gibson, it sounded great. The second one didn't seem to have the depth of the first one.
    Am I right?
    Do I get a prize??

  22. #45
    Registered User ebeja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    DE - Central Franconia
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I too would say the first track is the Fern, however both are played and sound fantastic!!

  23. #46
    Okay, I'm with you fellas tburcham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Jonesboro, AR
    Posts
    725
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I'm going with the Kentucky first followed by The Gibson. I agree with the other posts, both sound very nice and great picking there!
    Tim Burcham
    Northfield Big Mon (Red Spruce/Red Maple)
    Gibson F-9 Custom
    1942 Strad-O-Lin
    1948-54 Gibson LG-3
    2011 Gibson J-45 True Vintage
    2017 Martin HD-28 VTS Custom Shop
    Bailey Mandolin Straps (NFI)
    Bell Arm-rests (NFI)

  24. #47
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    I'd say first is the Gibson, second is the Kentucky.

  25. #48

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Excellent playing and thanks for taking the time and effort to follow through with this project.
    I'm guessing the Kentucky first, Gibson Fern second. I don't really care if I'm right or not though. They both sound great and either way, I'm proud to own a MM Kentucky. All I need now is someone who can play it like that!

  26. #49
    Registered User bluenote23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    Played by almeriastrings, both of these instruments just sound terrific!
    The first is a little warmer. The second is brighter but the tone is a little thinner. First is the Gibson. But if I could make a mandolin sound like either one of these, I would be a very happy player.

    Oh, I listened using a pair of fairly high quality headphones.

  27. #50
    Registered User pefjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    678

    Default Re: Comparing Northfield with Kentucky KM 1500

    This reminds me of the Stradivarius test with four experts. IIRC they all chose the wrong Violin. I predict half of you guys will be right and half wrong. I could flip a coin and get the same results. I think almeriastrings played only one mandolin and is trying to trick us. I say they sound the same. Just kidding. I thought the first one had more volume, therefore it's the Gibson.
    I have the world in a jug, and the stopper in my hand.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •